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Causes of Horrible Airless Spray Patterns – A Guide

Having a quality pattern from your airless paint sprayer is critical in achieving the production and finish quality you want from your coating application work. That is why it can be such a headache when your airless starts routinely spraying in a horrible pattern. This article will cover common reasons for horrible airless spray patterns and how to potentially fix them.

Common Causes of Horrible Airless Spray Patterns

  1. Material blocking your airless tip – Depending on the coating you are spraying; material may dry on the airless sprayers tip. When this happens, the material will not flow evenly out of your airless tip. This will cause your spray pattern to be negatively affected. To fix this issue you can try to clean your tip with the appropriate solvent or you can consider replacing the tip with a new one like we have here.

  2. Pump Not Providing proper pressure – Airless Paint Sprayers Depend on consistent pressure to be able to atomize a coating. If your sprayer stops pressurizing consistently it will create uneven spray patterns or even inconsistent patterns. There are a few reasons that this occurs which you should evaluate. First is to check the packings of your airless pump.  Packings help create a tight seal around your piston rod of your pump. The tight seal helps in providing consistent even pressure during the up and down stroke of your airless. You will also want to evaluate the ball and seat of your airless. Ball and seats sit at the top and/or bottom of the airless piston stroke. They help keep the piston stroke even throughout its travel. If you notice your airless get to one side of the stroke and then rapidly return it is most often a worn ball and seat. A third potential cause of the pump not pressurizing evenly or consistently pertains to electric airless sprayers. On an electric airless paint sprayer you have a transducer which acts as a pressure regulation switch electronically.  If the transducer is worn or damaged, the airless will usually fail to either build or maintain pressure, which will result in poor spray patterns for your airless.

  3. Pump Not Adjusted Correctly – Since Airless Paint Sprayers require pressure to properly atomize a coating, it is critical to properly set the pressure on the airless to achieve a good spray pattern. If you notice your airless has tails which you can see a good picture of here you will typically need to increase the pressure your spraying at to eliminate the tail.  You may also want to consider increasing fluid pressure if the break up is not fine enough.

  4. Equipment right for your needs – Airless sprayers have limitations in the quality of finish they will provide. If you have tried to resolve the issue with your spray pattern not being good enough with the ideas above there are a few last things you can try. You can try a fine finish airless tip. A fine finish airless tip causes the coating to pass through two restriction points and by doing so will cause a finer break up of your coating. The downside is that they can clog more often than a standard airless sprayer tip. If the fine finish tip is not effective at allowing you to have the pattern you want, you can also consider converting an air driven airless to an air assist airless which you can learn about doing so here. If none of these options listed are adequate you may want to consider a conventional or HVLP Spray Gun.


By trying these suggestions you should be able to fix the issue with your airless sprayer pattern. However, if you want to know potential improvements from different spray methods we have a lot of experience spraying a variety of coatings and you can contact us here.

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